Some have said that we are all rebels at heart. That may just be true, if the following 15 people are any indication. Not only did they shoot to the top of society, they used a rebellious spirit as the jet fuel to get there.
Check out our list of the 15 Most Famous Teenage Rebels Who Made It Big! and let us know what you think
1. Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland, son of actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas, is an example of a man turning menace… thanks to the overbearing shadows of his parents. After the rebellious teen years living a party drenched lifestyle, Sutherland is finally coming into his own. These days Sutherland is an A-list actor, having won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work on the just recently completed 24 series on Fox.
2. James Dean
James Dean represented what all teens feel but few can express – deep angst and an uncontrollable drive to rebel. He was the human depiction of a caged lion, still lustful for freedom, and teens in the 1950s saw themselves in Dean’s characters. Since his untimely death at age 24, Dean’s name has survived and turned him into an immortal icon.
3. Sean Penn
Sean Penn is controversy defined. Penn spent his younger years in whirlwind of jail visits, parties and paparazzi conflicts. And then he married “Like a Virgin” Madonna. After weathering the storm of his earlier years, Penn has returned to Hollywood and gone on to win Oscars for performances in Milk and Mystic River.
4. Charlie Sheen
Sheen is a son of Hollywood, having started his career at 9. But he wasn’t a golden child; in pure rebel fashion, he was expelled from High School just before graduating. That same rebellious nature may have fueled his two greatest film accomplishments: noteworthy appearances in Oscar-winning films Platoon and Wall Street.
5. Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen had a fire in his belly that never quite went away. As a teen, he fought with his stepfather, got thrown into reform school and stayed at odds with the police. After a stint in the Marines (getting reprimanded the entire time) he came out and landed in Hollywood’s lap; eventually becoming the highest paid actor of his era and is forevermore known as the “King of Cool.”
6. Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando dropped out of school, and couldn’t join the military because of a bum knee. Making it as an actor wasn’t an option. The son of drunkard parents, young Brando would rebel against his everyday struggles by escaping into impromptu skits. Today, Marlon Brando is seen as one of the greatest actors to have every lived.
7. Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne, born John Michael Osbourne, needed money growing up so he turned to petty theft. He wasn’t good at it; the cops kept catching him. Influenced after seeing the meteoric rise of The Beatles, Ozzy threw himself into music and became the “Godfather of Heavy Metal” . Itís only fitting that the genre he birthed came to represent the rebellious nature we all carry in our hearts.
8. George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw hated school and everything it represented. “Schools and schoolmasters, as we have them today,” Shaw once said, “are not popular as places of education and teachers, but rather prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them disturbing and chaperoning their parent.” He ended up dropping out of school before earning a Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938).
9. John Lennon
John Lennon looked up to Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly… the rebels of the day. It’s unsurprising that Lennon became a rebel in his own way, throwing off the robes of conformity (in music as in life) and donning the persona of a new kind of rock star before his tragic assassination in 1980. Today, Lennon is remembered as one of the 5 greatest singers of all time (Rolling Stone), the 8th Greatest Brit (BBC) to ever live, and one of the best-selling artists to ever be born.
10. Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso would skip class, finding the formality of school unattractive. Even though he showed signs of genius at an early age, his lack of self-discipline showed itself in utter disregard for how things should be done. The mentality didn’t slow his rise. He produced over 50,000 works of art during his long 91 years and is remembered today as one of the greatest artists to ever grace the medium.
11. Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino didn’t follow the formula for becoming a great director. He didn’t get his chops going to college; he learned his trade working in a video rental store. Under the tutelage of Roger Avery (owner of Video Archives rental store), Tarantino has grown to become one of the most famous directors in Hollywood.
12. Rob Lowe
As part of the “Brat Pack” (which included fellow rebel Charlie Sheen) he got himself in trouble when he was caught in a sex tape with a minor back in 1988. He later got involved with drugs and alcohol but after treatment he emerged to become the star of The West Wing and was voted one of the fifty most attractive people in the world in 2000.
13. Robert Downey, Jr.
Robert Downey, Jr. reportedly began taking drugs when his father gave them to him at the age of 8. Robert spent much of the period between 1996-2001 behind bars. However, after meeting the “best shrink in the world” he gave up drugs and alcohol and is now freaking Iron Man!
14. James Garner
James Garner had a terrible childhood; he was beaten by his stepmother who made him dress up in girls clothes as punishment. After one fight, James was forced to choke her as he feared she would kill him in retaliation. After surviving his childhood and the US Army he became a leading force in television and film, earning him a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
Marshal Mathers – stage name Eminem – came to Detroit when he was 12. Coming from a broken family gave him drive to rebel, but no focal point for his rage. That focal point took shape in his music. Eminem has since sold over 80 million records worldwide and won 11 Grammies and an Oscar for his rap stylings.